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A bullet striking the chest can cause a sucking chest wound—a deep, open wound of the chest wall that allows air into the chest cavity.

All chest injuries are very serious and need immediate medical attention.

To respond immediately to a chest wound:

  • Use the palm of your hand to cover the wound until a bandage is located.
  • Cover the wound with sterile gauze, a clean cloth, plastic, or foil.
  • Make sure the wound cover forms an air-tight seal.
  • Hold the gauze in place with a bandage or tape.
  • If the victim has trouble breathing, remove the bandage and replace it quickly.
  • Transport the victim to the hospital with the injured side down.
Hunter assisting hunter lying on ground in shock